Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
6 Inch Scale
$15-$20 (price varies)
The Ninja Turtles have always been a big part of my life. I was part of the generation that rode the wave of the first Ninja Turtle craze and unlike a lot of folks, I hung in until the end. I remember being blown away by the Next Mutation figures and their improved articulation. Unfortunately, shortly after it seemed like the TMNT were finally done for.
My very first Turtle figure was Michelangelo, back when I was still fairly young. Not only was he my first Turtle figure, but he was the one I liked best. His personality was the most appealing to me (despite not always getting a fair treatment in terms of character development in the cartoons) and I just generally enjoyed him the most. Oddly enough, orange is not my favorite color. That seems to be the motivation for a lot of folks to love a particular Turtle.
Things worked out in my circle of playmates (no pun intended) back then because nobody else wanted to claim Mikey. My brother preferred Leonardo and my cousin Raphael. Eventually when the toy line was relaunched in 2003 with a new cartoon, I was right there with it. In fact, if it hadn’t been for that 2003 line, this site might not exist.
See, by 2003, I was plenty good and grown up and had stopped collecting toys for several years. Marvel Legends? Yeah, I missed a lot of that. I didn’t care about toys. I was grown up, don’t ya know? But when the prospect of new Turtles came about, I jumped back in. Eventually it turned me into the
The Turtles are back for their third attempt at reclaiming the toy aisles (fourth if you count the failed Next Mutation era) and this time they’re not only launching a new cartoon with new toys, but also a retro “Classic Collection” line aimed at collectors. Playmates promised the most collector friendly Turtles ever, with more articulation than ever before… So is Michelangelo ready to start another Renaissance (pun intended) on my Turtles collecting?
I wish I could say the packaging was amazing. You may remember that the old Turtles packages were really cool. Especially in the beginning when each figure got unique card art. Hell, I’d argue that no toy line has EVER come close to comparing to that. The 2003 line didn’t have as nice of packaging, but in the beginning they did do some neat things such as unique backer cards for the core characters.
This package falls a bit short. It’s not bad and it’s sort of an homage to the vintage packages, but it doesn’t reflect them very well. In fact the 25th Anniversary figures from a few years ago had a better imitation card. The back is kind of neat if only because it details some of the Turtles non-kayfabe history.
The real problem is that the package has several pieces of the merchandising art on it. These drawings of the Turtles aren’t bad, but they lack the life and vibrancy of the better artwork. Interestingly enough, the Turtle figures are actually more based on these art models than anything else.
There is one really neat element and that’s a manhole cover formation on the top of the “bubble”. It’s a nice touch and it helps to make these figures look like they are worth keeping in the package. So while I don’t love all the individual parts, the overall presentation isn’t bad, it just doesn’t live up the true classic figures.
There’s been some criticism early on that these figures don’t accurately reflect the cartoons counterparts from the classic Fred Wolf Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animation.
This is true, but that’s because these figures aren’t supposed to. While they are the most accurate toon Turtles to date, they are supposed to be an amalgamation of several sources, including the vintage figures, promo art and the Fred Wolf cartoon.
In that sense, these guys are a home run. Mikey looks a lot like the various sources that he’s been inspired from.
If you weren’t putting him under a microscope, you’d think he was a perfect cartoon recreation. Seriously, show this figure to a casual fan and they’ll think he leaped right out of the screen. Put it under the scrutiny of highfalutin toy nerds and you may not get quite as warm a response.
Personally I think they’re pretty great in most respects. Mike doesn’t have any real detailed sculpting, but that’s because he’s mirroring that animation style. So there aren’t pulsating veins or skin blemishes.
Heck even the shell is in pretty good shape this time around.
“A FELLOW CHUCKER, EH?!”
That’s not to say that the sculpt itself isn’t detailed, because it is. There’s all the appropriate sculpting and designing, but it’s fitted to an animation style.
The paint work is minimal, but quite solid. The one area where most people are having issues is in the eyes. Mine seem to be painted fine, even though he’s more or less looking up and off to the side. From all the promo pictures and stuff, this appears to be the way he’s supposed to be looking.
Not all the eyes are so nice though. I’ve seen some that look a bit like Jack Elam.
The other controversial issue is scale. Mikey (and all the Turtles by proxy) is just a hair short of 6 1/2 inches tall. Perhaps even more alarming to me is the fact that he’s 2+ inches thick and 3 inches wide. He’s a bulky figure.
Yet, it feels right in a lot of ways. Never before has the Turtles girth and shell size been recreated so accurately to how it was most often portrayed in the cartoons. The top of the torso is articulated, but the back of the shell only connects to this piece. So it’s almost like he’s wearing a turtle shell backpack.
Some folks imagine the Ninja Turtles to be like 3 foot tall or something. I honestly don’t get it. That said, these guys ARE big and they won’t fit in perfectly with every figure line. Of course, they’re not designed to.
They fit in nicely with the 2007 TMNT movie figures, with the exception of width. Those figures were very thin and as such look a bit out of place.
I think Playmates won’t have a problem scaling other figures to this. Shredder can be 7-7 1/2 inches tall. Same for Rocksteady, Bebop and so on.
“Weren’t you bigger earlier, dude?”
But they tower over the original figures.
I can’t imagine they’ll fit in any of the vintage vehicles. I doubt they’d even squeeze into the Cowabunga Carl van. But oddly enough, Mikey looks fine on the 2003 motocycles.
Playmates has claimed that this toy has more articulation than any Turtle figure ever. Is that true? Yes, it does appear so. This guy even blows the NECA out of the water.
That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good thing, though. Remember Toy Biz? They used to cram entirely too much articulation into their figures. Often it ruined a sculpt or playability. Mikey isn’t Toy Biz bad, but there are a few things that could have been left out.
The one thing I will say about the articulation is that it’s very creative. The individual toes and fingers are pretty sweet.
The thumb is actually a swivel hinge! This really allows for some good grasping.
However I did find that over time, some of the articulation is starting to loosen up. Especially in the arms. Then again, I posed this guy a lot.
That’s another really nice thing about the articulation… You can get Michelangelo into pretty much any pose you can imagine. That’s a good thing for a Turtle trained in Ninjitsu.
He also has a really good sense of balance. Which is pretty amazing when you consider all the joints and the heft and girth of the figure. This guy stands way better than Marvel Legends Baron Zemo, for example.
I constantly found myself putting him in crazy one legged poses, just to see if he would stay standing. He always did.
At this price point with this sort of articulation you can’t expect too much. However the Turtles need their core weapons and that’s what you get here. Each Turtle comes with their main weapon. Mikey is the best, because he comes with two nunchucks that have real chains!
The chains are thick and nice and are even more sturdy than the NECA versions. The chain is longer too. It’s a real winner.
Perhaps the best part is that you can use the nunchaku with the new Nickelodeon Mikey as well. They’re suited for both scales in my view.
The chucks can be stored in his belt.
You also get a manhole cover stand. It’s pretty bland with no paint other than a tampo of Mike’s name, but it is nicely detailed and could possibly be used as a weapon. It’s a nice bonus, even if the Turtles don’t really need them to stand. It will make putting them onto the shelf much easier.
These haven’t hit retail yet but the average price is supposed to be around $15. I got mine early, so I paid more. I’ve seen them run up to $20 at some regular retailers, but the word on the street is that Target will only be charging $15. If that’s true, there probably isn’t much else on the market that has this kind of quality and articulation at this price.
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 10
Accessories – Nunchucks, Manhole Cover Stand
Value – 10
Overall – 9 out of 10
This is a really nice figure. It’s not perfect though. In fact in a lot of ways the new Nickelodeon figures outshine these “Classic Collection” releases in terms of pure fun. It’s kind of mind boggling, but sometimes less is more. That seems to be the one holdup with these figures.
That said, I’m hoping this line succeeds and we get tons of high quality figures like this. My mind would be blown with a Rocksteady, Bebop, Foot Soliders and Shredder… Plus hundreds more.
“Pesky Foot Ninja!”
I do recommend these guys… But they’re more collectibles than toys, I suppose. The Nick figures are more “fun” but these are great figures by any measurable standard, so it’s kind of strange. If you loved the classic TMNT though, you really can’t go too wrong with checking a couple of these out… Or at least your favorite Turtle!
“Awww, he’s so cute. Master Splinter, can we keep him?!”